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Data Slicers / Discriminator Taps

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Go-24

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I just ordered an older scanner for the primary purpose of installing a discriminator tap / data slicer etc. Even though I picked up a BC898T pretty cheap I am not sure I have faith in my sodering skills - I prolly would burn the board up.

I noticed a site on the web dataslicers.com says he will set up the connection and he sells a data slicer kit as well. Anyone hear of or use his service before?
 

richster

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Regina, Sask.
I myself have never sent a scanner to Dataslicers.com, but I have bought a slicer from Brett specifically for my laptop.

The slicer works 100%, and enables me to decode the CC and control a second scanner with only 1 communications port!! This is really handy since my laptop only has one. The slicer itself is small, well built, and has the cleanest signal of all my other slicers as well.

I bought a 4-level/2-level from Texas2Way(my first) well over four years ago, and it was nothing but a piece of junk. If you are looking for a commercial slicer, Dataslicers.com is the way to go.

Regards,
Richster.
 

Fiveo

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I would also be interested in knowing who is competent in installing discriminator taps. Does anyone know if local radio shops would be able to perform this type of service. With trunked systems becoming more and more common, it seems that this would be a profitable venture for those with the skills and knowledge to do these installs.
 

fmon

Silent Key Jan. 14, 2012
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A tap is still required but modern methods for decoding are without a slicer. wtrunker for Motorola and ewtrnk for EDACS by Eric Cottrell run with Audio Cable (RS 42-2420A) plugged into the tapped jack to the soundboard line in or mike in. UniTrunker by rfmobile will also work using the same hookup.

Links to these programs can be found in RRWiki pages.
 

fmon

Silent Key Jan. 14, 2012
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Fiveo said:
I would also be interested in knowing who is competent in installing discriminator taps. Does anyone know if local radio shops would be able to perform this type of service. With trunked systems becoming more and more common, it seems that this would be a profitable venture for those with the skills and knowledge to do these installs.
Any competent radio repair shop can install the tap if they have the info for the tap point. For that matter, any person with simple soldering skills can do the job. Tin the stripped ends, hold to the tinned end to pad, carefully heat to the melting point.
 

Go-24

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Well I just got my scanner back from Brett - had him install the tap for me.

Now I am looking for any guidence I can get in getting the thing to work. Whats the best program? Ive tried several and cant get any of them to work.
 

SCPD

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You didn't state whether you purchased a slicer in addition to getting your radio tapped. If so, great - that increases the number of programs that you can run.

If you have a slicer - plug it in; tune your radio to a control channel and run the SLICER.EXE utility to validate your setup. Next step would be to run one of the "classic" Trunker programs to verify that it will work with your computer and OS.

For direct "slicer-free" sound input decoding you've got a few choices.

If you're a long time Trunker / Etrunk user then I strongly suggest taking advantage of updated Windows versions. It looks like you've got enough radios to place one under computer control for voice tracking.

If however, you want to download talkgroup data from RR (this does require a paid RR subscription) to avoid a lot of typing - you can choose Unitrunker. That program will eventually support voice tracking but it's not there yet.

Which ever program you use ... I offer the following - taken from the Unitrunker documentation as a suggestion for getting your computer configured for proper decoding.

Read this First
You've installed Unitrunker (or other program) on your computer. You've tapped a radio and connected the audio to your computer's sound input. Stop right there! There's a small chance you'll get lucky with things like signal levels and matched impedances. Odds are however that the signal level will be wrong - or that the apparent electical load caused by diverting discriminator audio to your computer causes the audio to be distorted. Maybe squelch stops working or speaker audio now sounds weaker than before. Before jumping in with both feet - save yourself some frustration by following this procedure. Download a software oscilloscope and run it. Tune your radio to a control channel and look at the signal on the 'scope. Do NOT use a real oscilloscope. You need to see the signal as your computer sees it. Adjust the signal level so that the signal is distinct but not clipped or chopped. If the resulting waveform looks distorted, you may need to place a buffer amplifier between your radio and computer. I highly recommend this. If you're having problems with microphone input, try the line input (or vice-versa). Once you've got a recognizable signal procede with the Unitrunker (or other program's) setup.
-rick
 

Go-24

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Yep, got the whole kit and kaboodle ...

I had to break out my dusty lap top from about 7 years go - it has Win98 on it and I got trunker up and running via DOS.

Trunk88 kept returning the wrong frequencies. Win4 wont recognize the com port, and I havent tried Unitrunker yet. I imagine I will figure em all out in time and pick out a favorite.

If you dont feel comfortable installing a tap yourself I would recommend Brett, he did a great job and it only took him 1 day turn around time.
 

slicerwizard

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Toronto, Ontario
Go-24 said:
Trunk88 kept returning the wrong frequencies.
You need to set the system type, base frequency(ies) and step size(s) correctly.

There are also utilities available to import talkgroup data from RadioReference into TRUNK88 (you don't have to be a premium subscriber)
 

Go-24

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rfmobile said:
It looks like you've got enough radios to place one under computer control for voice tracking.
The 898T is tapped - I would love to use the 330 or maybe the 396 as my voice scanner but not sure that they are supported.

Aanyone know how I can get it set up with the second "voice" scanner I would love to hear from you. Thanks
 

fmon

Silent Key Jan. 14, 2012
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Go-24 said:
The 898T is tapped - I would love to use the 330 or maybe the 396 as my voice scanner but not sure that they are supported.

Aanyone know how I can get it set up with the second "voice" scanner I would love to hear from you. Thanks
Use Options and Configuration menu for Unitrunker. I'm not sure either are supported yet.

In wtrunk or etrnk set the trackenv file similiar to:
TRACKSCAN=BC895
TRACKSCANPORT=COM6
TRACKSCANBAUD=19200
TRACKSLICERPIN=WIN
TRACKSCANPARK=854.0000
TRACKSLICERMODE=invert

COM, BAUD and MODE are the factors needed to match your setup.
 

Go-24

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fmon said:
Use Options and Configuration menu for Unitrunker. I'm not sure either are supported yet.

In wtrunk or etrnk set the trackenv file similiar to:
TRACKSCAN=BC895
TRACKSCANPORT=COM6
TRACKSCANBAUD=19200
TRACKSLICERPIN=WIN
TRACKSCANPARK=854.0000
TRACKSLICERMODE=invert

COM, BAUD and MODE are the factors needed to match your setup.
Yep I have those settings set in the TRACKENV file - what do I need to do with the voice scanner?
 

SCPD

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Messages
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Location
Virginia
Go-24 said:
Yep I have those settings set in the TRACKENV file - what do I need to do with the voice scanner?
Edit the TRACKSCANxxxx settings to match your radio's baud rate and COM port. If your radio is one of the newer Unidens - try setting the type as BC895. You will also want to read the trunker documentation for working the menus to choose what you want to hear. Look for a PDF in the download section or perhaps on the RR Wiki.
-rick
 

bonus1331

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Location
Hogansville, Ga
If I want to utilize voice and data with 2 scanners, do I need to have both scanners "tapped" or just one?
To use the majority of programs would I want to get a discriminator tap, slicer, or both?
30 years scanning, still a newbie in some areas?!
 

fmon

Silent Key Jan. 14, 2012
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"If I want to utilize voice and data with 2 scanners, do I need to have both scanners "tapped" or just one?"

You can setup to the sound card line in with the single tapped scanner and the supported voice scanner connected with a 232 cable to a serial port. Either wtrunk or UniTrunker will work with this configuration. Of course, the tapped scanner should be able to program any control frequency you wish to decode and the voice scanner needs to be one which is supported by the decoding software.
 

fmon

Silent Key Jan. 14, 2012
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As far as I know, the converter simply provides a port for communications between scanner and PC. Same data is exchanged to my knowledge.
 
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